New Study Says Illegal Abortions Kill Women, Legal Abortions Not Better

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Nov 24, 2006   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

New Study Says Illegal Abortions Kill Women, Legal Abortions Not Better Email this article
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by Steven Ertelt Editor
November 24
, 2006

New York, NY ( — A new study concerning illegal abortions across the world suggests as many as 68,000 women die annualy from having one. The study, conducted by the Alan Guttmacher Institute and published in the British medical journal Lancet, says millions of women are hospitalized from illegal abortions.

Guttmacher, which is the research arm of Planned Parenthood and conducted the study with money from the pro-abortion Hewlitt Foundation, examined data from 13 countries to come to its conclusions.

They claimed about 19 million unsafe abortions occur around the world every year, including both illegal and legal abortions.

Susheela Singh, who led the study, said the only way to make abortions safe is to make them legal, even though that hasn’t made abortion any safer for women.

"The most effective way of eliminating this highly preventable cause of maternal illness and death, would be to make safe and legal abortion services available and accessible," Singh said.

"When legal restrictions on abortion are reduced, the rate of deaths and morbidity decreases greatly," Marge Berer, editor of the journal Reproductive Health Matters, said of the study.

But facts in the United States don’t validate that conclusion.

The National Center for Heath Statistics reveals that before 1941, there were over 1,400 abortion-related deaths. Yet after Penicillin became available to control infections, the number of deaths was reduced in the 1950’s to approximately 250 per year. By 1966, with abortion still illegal in all states, the number of deaths had dropped steadily to 120 and was at just 25 when abortion was legalized nationwide in 1973.

Statistics from the agency afterwards show that the number of abortion deaths rose in 1974 and 1975, despite abortion’s legality.

New and better antibiotics, better surgery and the establishment of intensive care units in hospitals helped reduce infections and post-surgery complications.

Some of the countries in the Alan Guttmacher study are second and third-world nations such as Nigeria, Uganda, Guatemala, Burkina Faso, Ghana, and Kenya. These are countries that don’t have the same type of medical care to provide to their people that industrialized nations do.

Paul Tully, general secretary of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, a British pro-life group, also said the Guttmacher study was based on guesses and estimates. He also said data in other nations show that making abortion illegal didn’t hurt women’s health.

"This is contradicted by hard data from Poland, which imposed new legal restrictions on abortion in the mid 1990s and consequently showed improved maternal and infant health," he told the BBC.

"The burden of the study is clearly to promote the killing of more unborn babies in poorer countries, regardless of the fact that women do not want abortions," he added.

The Guttmacher study also doesn’t shed any light on the medical and mental health problems legal abortions cause women.

In the United States alone, seven women have died in the last few years form using the dangerous RU 486 abortion drug. The Food and Drug Administration indicates more than 950 women reported complications from using it with many requiring hospitalization, blood transfusions, and even emergency surgery to complete a botched abortion.

Recent research from New Zealand has also shown that as much as 40 percent of women having legal abortions suffer from a variety of mental health problems including depression, thoughts of suicide and addictions to drugs or alcohol.